Building an Anti-Racist Vocabulary

Barv Hero 2021

The opposite of racist isn't 'not racist.' It is 'antiracist.' What's the difference?

One endorses either the idea of a racial hierarchy as a racist, or racial equality as an antiracist. One either believes problems are rooted in groups of people, as a racist, or locates the roots of problems in power and policies, as an antiracist. One either allows racial inequities to persevere, as a racist, or confronts racial inequities, as an antiracist. There is no in-between safe space of 'not racist.’

Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist


Register for the Fall 2023 Series Here


The Klau Institute for Civil and Human Rights presents Building an Anti-Racist Vocabulary, a lecture series and associated course presenting preeminent scholars, thought leaders, and public intellectuals to guide our community through topics necessary to an understanding of systemic racism and racial justice. The series is self-consciously an entry point, designed to provide intellectual and moral building blocks to begin the transformative work of anti-racism in our students, on our campus, and in our broader communities.

More about the project here

Watch videos of past speakers here


For students


Building an Anti-Racist Vocabulary is available as either a one-credit or three-credit course for Notre Dame students. The presentations will be offered via Zoom for all participants, with an additional in-classroom component for the three-credit course. Students who do not register for the class are welcome and encouraged to join individual lectures as noted below.

Course registration information here


For the Notre Dame community


Each session in the series will be synchronously available, via Zoom, to any member of the Notre Dame community—students, staff, faculty, or alumni. Join us for the whole series, or even just one lecture.

You must register to attend any part of the series. Registration provides access to all of the lectures, but you may choose which lectures to attend. We recommend early registration, as space is limited, but you may do so at any time during the semester. An or email address is required. Alumni who wish to obtain an email address may do so at the Notre Dame Alumni Association, here.

Register for the Fall 2023 Series Here

For the public

Video recordings and suggested readings from many lectures will be available as the series unfolds. Check here for the latest uploads.

Watch videos of past speakers here


Guest Experts Fall 2023


Friday, September 1

Catholic Institutions and Race

Vincent Rougeau
President, College of the Holy Cross and author of Christians in the American Empire: Faith and Citizenship in the New World Order



Friday, September 8

Slavery and the American Catholic Church

Rachel Swarns
Associate Professor of Journalism, New York University, and author of The 272: The Families who Were Enslaved and Sold to Build the American Catholic Church


Friday, September 15

Criminal Justice Disparities

Felix Owusu
Post-doctoral Research Fellow, Harvard University


Friday, September 22

To be announced


Friday, September 29

Race and Drowning

Jeff Wiltse
Professor of History, University of Montana

Example Example

Friday, October 6

Cancer Alley

Davin Lowell
Tulane Environmental Law Clinic

Pam Spees
Center for Constitutional Rights


Friday, October 13

Climate Inequality

Angel Hsu
Assistant Professor of Public Policy, University of North Carolina


Friday, October 27


Kamilah Moore
California Reparations Task Force



Friday, November 3

The Future of Affirmative Action

Richard Kahlenberg
Non-resident scholar, Georgetown University's McCourt School of Public Policy


Friday, November 10

Race as a Social Construct

Jennifer Guglielmo
Associate Professor of History, Smith College, and author of Living the Revolution: Italian Women's Resistance and Radicalism in New York City, 1880-1945


Friday, November 17

Political Participation

Jamil Scott
Assistant Professor of Political Science, Georgetown University



Friday, December 1

Oxford Dictionary of African American English

Sonja Laneheart
Professor of Linguistics, University of Arizona

Register for the Fall 2023 Series Here